I look across and you are asleep already. You look so angelic my eyes flood and I blink away the tears that tumble from my eyelashes. The moonlight illuminates your skin, hiding the dark circles around your eyes and your chewed lips. In this light you aren’t slumped anymore, but elegant and wise, your jawline casting deep shadow over the nape of a pale, spotted neck. I feel like an astronaut, peering out of the capsule window over a foreign landscape, looking for a safe place to touch down.
Carefully, I pull the needle from your arm. In front of me is a chain link fence and, picking a hexagon, I aim the syringe perfectly through… it lands with a faint puff of dust on the other side. It can’t hurt you now… hurt us now. I stretch out my boots and click my knees. My jeans are caked in oil and grime so they creak when they bend. Running my tongue through my mouth, my feet are as furry as my three year beard. I wish I could sleep, but my heart keeps beating. Thump thump thump, it pounds away, the only healthy thing I still own.
We’re resting in the alley, because it’s too warm to sleep. Even outdoors, the air is heavy and dismal with pollution. Buildings sweat, trees die, people go away. From here, between my legs, I can see the churned turmoil of a diseased Earth covered in the detritus and mistakes of Man. Chimneys and rigs, steel and sulphur, lit artificially and haphazardly and now abandoned, to be reclaimed by a mutated Nature that does not grow so much as manifest and pulse, tentacles of thorns grasping everything it can. This is Gaia on life-support, her bed left unattended as her flesh rots into weeping sores.
I look over to you again. Your head has shifted towards me, so I can see the jagged parting in the top of your greasy head. A single trickle of blood is making its way between the hairs on your arm, so I lick my finger and gently mop it up. I have dreams of us leaving this place. Daydreams and night dreams where I get it all together, get a real job, rent a flat, buy a dog, do recycling and go to the funfair to win teddy bears for you. But I know you can’t do these things. The umbilical didn’t sever, it just clung on and became septic. You can’t leave this place and I cannot leave you. So this is now our life – mossy alleyways covered in graffiti, the rusting monuments of industry, old shacks covered in ivy and stinking of piss that we sleep in when the snow falls from November to March.
We play in the wreckage of those that failed. But as we get older those paints don’t fade but become bolder. Old ruins glint sharp.
As long as we still breathe, we still have time.
We don’t have to fail.